Somerset West school is investigating whether or not pupil used K-word in spat

By Staff Writer Time of article published Feb 26, 2020

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Cape Town – The Western Cape Education Department has reiterated that it views any allegations of racism or discrimination very seriously. 

This comes as Parel Valley High School in Somerset West is investigating an incident last week in which a pupil allegedly insulted a co-pupil using the K-word.

Someone claiming to be a parent at the school and a former pupil, Lungile Kheswa, caused a stir on Facebook after posting about the incident in which a "beautiful black child was called the K word by one of your white Afrikaans students".

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer confirmed that the Parel Valley High school governing body held an emergency meeting on Friday, with parents being informed of the incident.

She has pleaded for patience while the matter is being investigated by the school, which will implement disciplinary measures if there has been a transgression of the school's code of conduct.

Schäfer said the disciplinary procedures have to be adhered to ensure that both parties have a proper chance to state their case.

"If true," she said, "it's upsetting that people are still using this word. I strongly condemn it."

Kheswa posted on Friday: "Dear Parel Vallei High school, we as parents are well aware about the incident that occurred on your school grounds today. 

"A beautiful black child was called the K word by one of your white Afrikaans students. As we all know, our children are well aware of the deeply rooted pain that comes with the word and it is only inevitable for them to act in an 'uncivil' manner. 

"A fight broke loose because of how downgraded each student of colour felt at that moment. We are informed that the white student was protected like a chief and not really disciplined accordingly.

"To make matters even worse you called an emergency assembly explaining that the children reacted like a certain group of disruptive people in parliament (we all know you meant the EFF) and the principal basically coerced the children that are mostly under the age of 18 to agree on not posting the situation on social media.

"He took the votes unanimously and anyone who disagreed was told to speak their peace in front of the entire school.

"Keep in mind that most of these kids are under 18. Therefore this would be going against a subordinate's instruction if anyone tried to post about it. 

"As a former student of PV I am fully aware of your tactics of having racial incidents swept under the carpet, and telling kids not post is one of your infamous tactics. 

"I was young then, but now I fully understand that the level of helplessness these kids experience day to day comes to your benefit. 

"With that advantage you guys have cornered these kids into fearing the usage of the necessary resources to express themselves

"PV will be exposed til the culprit is dealt with in an appropriate manner."

Education spokesperson Kerry Mauchline said: "Schools must deal with cases of racism and discrimination in terms of the Abuse No More protocol and the School Code of Conduct, which must be in line with the values of the constitution. 

"The WCED has been encouraging schools to proactively initiate conversations within the school with teachers and learners, and also with parents and communities on matters of diversity management. 

"We must create a school and learning environment in which every learner, every parent and every staff member within the public ordinary school system feels safe, happy and included.

"Schools are being encouraged and supported to share experiences and good practices on approaches to modifying school level policies that relate to admissions, discipline, uniform, code of conduct, and the management of teaching styles.

"In some cases the WCED are facilitating the processes of dialogue between various stakeholders at schools in the Western Cape to support the development of diversity and inclusivity plans that are appropriate for their respective contexts."

Cape Times

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